MIT Technology Review recently reported, that engineers at EADS Innovation Works near Bristol, England is testing an additive-layer manufacturing machine to create "intricate forms out of high-grade metal".
This special additive layer manufacturing machine, is also known as 3D printer, makes small part for Airbus A380. EADS is owner of Airbus, they hope this technology can change the way of manufacturing.
Up to now, 3D printers can make complex parts in relevant short time, but it is still difficult to print strong, durable objects. This system print mechanical components with metal powder. That means, lighter and more efficient airplanes can be built, and to most of us, could mean less fuel will be used, and the price for flights can be affordable.
The photo above: The one in the background is made with conventional manufacturing methods. The one in the foreground is made in the newer methods, with only half of the weights. Credit: Paul McMullin
The machine can make intricate forms out of high-grade metal, an advance that has allowed researchers to apply the design possibilities of 3-D printing to mechanical parts. The printers use software that works out where the parts need to bear loads and places material just in those areas, halving the weight of the complete part without sacrificing strength. That saves energy, metal, and money. The complex, curving forms that result couldn't be cast in a mold or carved out of a larger block even with the most advanced computer-controlled tools, but they can be printed in a succession of layers tens of micrometers thick.
The process is still in the test mode. If it succeed, engineer at EADS expects more aircraft components could be made in this way.
Source: MIT Technology Review
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